SYNTHBOY+ Turns Nintendo GameBoy Into 8-Bit Sound Machine

Readers Chris Blarsky and Josh Felice sent word about their new project, Synthboy+, a dock that turns a vintage GameBoy into a MIDI synth.

Here’s what they’ve got to say about the project:

Dust off that first gen Gameboy as we have a very cool interface dock that converts the handheld gaming system into a state of the art 8 bit sound machine. There is a growing community of musicians and audio artists that are using these old gaming system sounds.

We have used some of the achievements from the 8 bit community and created the SYNTHBOY+. Easy to plug into your mixer or home stereo with all of the various outputs. Midi IN/OUT makes it easy to connect to almost any keyboard.

Synthboy+ is being funded as a Kickstarter project. Here’s the intro video:

See the Kickstarter site for project details.

16 thoughts on “SYNTHBOY+ Turns Nintendo GameBoy Into 8-Bit Sound Machine

    1. If it’s okay to be judgmental, then I think “hipsternoise” would be a cooler screen-name than “trollomatus”.

  1. If this gets off the ground as well as they make it look, this could change the way chiptuners like myself make our product.

  2. This is an overpriced, useless piece of junk for game boy fetishists. Adds nothing to the game boy music making capabilities, and costs as much as a decent synth would cost.

    1. Have to disagree that this is overpriced or a piece of junk. It looks like they’ve worked hard to make this a really nice dock, rather than a crappy hack.

      But it does seem a bit like overkill. Ugly and cheap probably works for most of the 8-bit crowd.

  3. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s neat. I just wonder if it really needs a gameboy. I mean with the technology advances, am I wrong in thinking they could build an all in one device more cheaply that handles all the gameboy sounds (and more)? I like chip/lofi sounds, but I guess I’m not into product fetishism as much…

  4. Thank you for posting this. We are really hoping we can make our goal. I understand there are haters of this, but this is not for you. I grew up playing the with the Gameboy and I really like the sounds from it. Yes you can spend $99 on emulator software and if that gets you where you want to go, than great, but for others who just have to have the original sound, nothing will do except for the original thing. The 8bit community have spent countless hours trying to squeeze every ounce of performance from these older machines and when these machines are gone they are gone, they will be gone forever. Everything will sound the same as everything will be processed the same. These original chips, whether they be the SID’s from Commodores or the TIA’s from Atari’s have very unique characteristics, even to themselves! That unique hardware represents an age. You can get Guitar software that sounds like a guitar, but it will never be the same as playing one.
    Thank you for the support.

  5. Incredible. I especially like the idea of the rack unit shown at the end. I’m not an 8-bit/glitch or edm music fetishist by any means, but I was born in 81 and this sound is integrated into my psyche along with the nes, snes, spectrum zx, c64, atari st, amiga, megadrive, gamegear all of which were games i played at the same time my musical taste & creativity was developing. These are all musical/aural textures that have been very difficult to obtain and the idea of being able to have the real chips performing is pretty exciting, if I was rich enough i would definitely fund a project like this just to bring a dormant instrument into a more mainstream setup for us not so techically able musicians to add these to our sound palette. The naysayers are generally only arguing from the point of view that they either dislike the sound or that theres only one style of music that will ever use these sounds which is just blinkered and opinionated. As you said, this isn’t for them so thank you and goodnight. Lol
    I like this piece of kit & the further possibilities it represents. On my wishlist

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